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A good mystery, stellar cinematography, and heavy drama make for an upper-echelon installment to the Giallo sub-genre.

My Dear Killer

The death of a private investigator leads a police inspector down a twisted path of murder. Let’s dig into 1972’s MY DEAR KILLER, directed by Tonino Valerii!

As I See It

This early seventies giallo is filmed so well that it could be mistaken for an early eighties film.

I was surprised to read how much blowback George Hilton (Peretti) got for taking this role because, regardless of his being out of his comfort zone and not dipping his toes in the genre much beforehand, he puts forth an excellent performance. It may perhaps be his being cast against type that helps cement his authority with the character.

Starting off with a unique kill (decapitation by excavator) is a nice way to get things flowing in a horror film, but don’t get your hopes up for a blood-filled tale. The thrills and chills relate more to the audacity of the killer to maim and murder a young, innocent child and countless people associated with the girl.

It’s more of a crime mystery, as many Giallos are, including my favorite, Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal Plumage. But genre is genre, after all.

I’ve always had a deep love for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes. It’s a connection with my late grandmother, who showed me a seventies TV movie version of The Hound of the Baskervilles. I don’t recall which version; there are so many, after all. But of course, it would be the most horrorful Holmes story I would latch on to.

I’m not going to say the end of this film came close to the brilliance of Sherlock’s conclusions, but it gave me a similar feeling. And for that, I’m thankful.

Famous Faces

The director didn’t do much in the horror genre. But he had a good deal of experience shooting “Spaghetti Westerns,” which is emphasized by the teacher watching Django on TV (produced by the same company).

Patty Shepard (Teacher) was in Edge of the Axe, Slugs, and an earlier Dig Rest in Pieces.

Of Gratuitous Nature

She lands in the role of heartthrob thanks to her soft, exotic features, but the teacher falls into the helpless victim role as well. We watch her undress for no other reason than to get to see her naked.

That, of course, can’t be the most egregious example. It was reported the artist’s uncle, that is included in the film and questioned by Peretti in his studio — which shows large pieces of art that have dismembered dolls painted in various colors — didn’t make much sense to the producers. They decided to keep him in the film; they needed to show a naked child, which the uncle explains as a model, but they wanted to allude to the fact that he may be a pedophile.

I think the dismembered baby dolls were enough of a clue/hint, or the maids saying he was “attached” to the young girl in a suggestive way, but what do I know?


Patty Shepard’s (The Teacher) beauty is scene-stealing, and she also appeared in the Friday the 13th rip-off Edge of the Axe. She also suffers a brutal death at the end of a handheld rotary saw.

Ripe for a Remake

You can throw a dart and find any number of films — whether thriller or straight drama — that utilize many of the same elements of this plot; no need to keep going unless there is something truly unique going on.


No progeny to report.

Where to Watch

Vinegar Syndrome released My Dear Killer as part of the “Forgotten Gialli” series in Volume Two, along with The Girl in Room 2A and The French Sex Murders. You can stream it on Shudder and AMC+.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.1

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